Accordionist Stefan Hussong performs at Other Minds 10 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2004.
Traditional Gagaku (Japan, 10th Century), Banshiki no Choshi
John Cage, Dream (1948)
Keiko Harada (1999), Bone+ (US Premiere)
John Cage, In a landscape (1948)
Adriana Höelszky, High Way for One for Accordion Solo (2000) (US Premiere)
Stefan Hussong, accordion
Polka and Conjunto step asidethis is accordion like youve never heard before. German-born Stefan Hussongs sheer artistry and technical virtuosity transcend the instrument, establishing it as a vehicle of serious art music. Hussongs repertoire is all-encompassing, from the Baroque to the modern. His recorded transcriptions of Cages music have earned not only the composers blessing (Cage was interested in the Japanese sho, or predecessor to the accordion), but critical acclaim and Japan Record Guides Best Record Award of the year, 1978.
Funded in part by the Goethe Institut San Francisco.
Bone + for Accordion (1999), Keiko Harada
Stefan Hussong performed the world premiere of Bone + in 1999 in the Mito Art Tower in Japan. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Science, Research and Art, State of Baden-Wurttemberg,Germany. Composer Keiko Harada describes the piece as such: Air, respiration, and circulation: all these ideas come to mind when one thinks of the accordion, and they are the central themes of my piece. Bone + is the second work in my "BONE" series. Its structure consists of variations made by the performer on the internal state of the performance, thereby providing stark contrasts. When I say internal state, I am not referring to changes in feelings, but instead such substantial things as the rhythm of the breathing and the numbering of the note values. I take this non-customary method and willfully instill it in my music. Through that, the performer comes to sense something new and different from previous works of music, giving rise to the possibility of music sounding new for the first time.
In a Landsape (1948) John Cage
John Cage was heavily influenced by non-Western systems of living and thinking, both in his life and his overall conception of art. He first came into contact with free vibrating reed instruments in Darmstadt, Germany when he met the famous Japanese sho player Mayumi Miata, who asked him to write for her instrument. Cage was very taken with the beauty of this type of mouth organ, and wrote three major pieces for sho. It was only natural that Cage would embrace the accordion, a direct descendant of the sho, for use in his pieces written for indeterminate instrument. Dream was originally written for piano, revised for solo viola with viola viola ensemble (1974) and even for organ. Dream and In a Landscape (written for piano or harp) can be beautifully adapted for the accordion, by using one of the two manuals as a kind of controlled pedal which doubles the single melody-line of the other manual with the result of obtaining harmonics or chords. Both pieces have the perfect symmetry of Cages invention, structural rhythm. For example in In a Landscape, the structure is 15 x 15 (5+7+3), meaning that the piece contains 15 parts, of 15 measures each. Each part is divided into 3 phrases: 5 measures, 7 measures, and 3 measures. The 15 parts as a whole are divided into three large sections in the same proportions. Stefan Hussong
High Way for One for Accordion Solo (2000), Adriana Hölszky
It was the idea of the highway that guided Adriana Hölszky, a Russian-German composer born in 1953 in Bucharest, in her new accordion piece. In contrast to real highways, however, there is no standstill in her work. It is, so to speak, the ideal case of the highway idea, which is produced artificially in the figurative senseincessant forward progress, no stopping, no reflection. One fixes ones gaze only on what lies ahead as one hurries on to one single goal, faraway and yet so very undefined. The composer describes the anatomy of her musical road maze as follows: Fast chord tremolandi, sirenlike tone glissandi, and staccatissimo repetitions as well as fast double trills and fast scale passages make for a dense, wild, almost chaotic atmosphere not unlike that of a real highway during the rush hour. Highway for One is a concentrate of Highway, a two-movement solo concerto for accordion and nineteen instruments composed for Stefan Hussong in 1999 (notes excerpted from Helmut Peters).
All Other Minds programs available, with additional print and photo materials, at http://www.radiOM.org.